Since Taronga Zoo, based in Sydney, was established in 1916, it has matured into a conservation and educational hub aimed at telling the story of healthy ecosystems, habitats, wildlife and communities across the world. Like the Taronga Conservation Society, the Ottomin Foundation believes that we all have a responsibility to protect the world’s precious wildlife.
Since 2015, the Ottomin Foundation has taken a special interest in a number of projects to protect wildlife and empower people to secure a sustainable future for the planet. These programs have included the sustainability of the Corroboree frog, the Platypus and the Sumatran tiger species, as well as the Taronga Zoo Science Institute capital campaign, and more recently, in forensic science and native animal conservation aimed at detecting and monitoring illegal laundering of wildlife.
Visit Taronga Zoo at www.taronga.org.au/conservation-and-science
Saving the Southern Corroboree Frog
Frogs are often considered a barometer of an environment’s health. Fungus infection has claimed six frog species in Australia. This threat has also impacted heavily in the Southern Corroboree frog populations. Taronga became committed to this project in 2014, where the Zoo has been breeding and releasing the Corroboree frogs into the wild in a National Recovery Program to help save the species.
Protecting the Platypus
Taronga is leading the way in a world class rescue plan for the iconic Platypus. As its population declines, the Zoo’s refuge facilities have taken on a heavier burden by focussing on restoring the wild’s population. With the goal to reduce extinction risk, the Platypus Futures program aims to improve the Zoo’s understanding of impacts of river system regulation, such as dams and diversions, and climate change on Platypus health and distribution.
CEO’s Collaborate to Protect the Sumatran Tiger
In 2017, Taronga organised the CEO Sumatra Challenge. This group of CEOs, which included the Ottomin Foundation’s Chairman, Richard Kovacs, travelled to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, an area that has undergone massive human development, deforestation and agricultural growth, which has seriously threatened the Sumatran tiger and its habitat. In Sumatra, Taronga remains involved in a regional conservation for the tigers, which includes breeding, fundraising, research and community action to support sustainably-produced palm oil. Click here to read Richard’s personal experience of the CEO Sumatra Challenge.
Taronga Institute of Science and Learning
The Taronga Institute of Science and Learning was opened by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in October 2018. The building is a living laboratory for conservation, education and scientific investigation, which is committed to facilitating new ways of collaboration, conservation and immersive learning.
Forensic science and native animal conservation
The Taronga Zoo’s forensic team is conducting a scientific pilot trial to test the hypothesis on wild and captive Echidnas at the Zoo with quill clipping, obtained much like a cutting of a human’s nail. Using these clippings, Taronga has identified huge discrepancies between the captive-bred animals and wild populations. These tests are progressing, and if successful, would allow them to use a forensic methodology for detecting and monitoring illegal wildlife trade.